Tallmadge -- Environmental consultant Stephan Ryder is the newest member of the Tallmadge Planning and Zoning Commission.
The 44-year-old graduated from Crestwood High School in Mantua in 1988 and from Kent State University with a bachelor's degree in geology in 1996.
"I was somewhat surprised when Mayor Kline offered me the position. I initially met with him for other business when he explained that there was a current opening on the Planning and Zoning Commission and would appreciate [it] if I would consider [the position]," Ryder said. "I thought about it over the next few weeks and then, suddenly one night, I heard the voice of JFK [John F. Kennedy] saying 'ask not what your country can do for you ...' Seriously though, I do believe it is important to serve when there is a call."
As an environmental consultant for 16 years, he has worked on various projects, including turning industrial wasteland into parks, hospitals and schools and restoring contaminated streams and wetlands to their former glory. His work has allowed him to collaborate with cities, real estate developers, engineers, community organizations and urban planners.
"My experiences have taught me a lot about people and the expectations they have for their communities. I hope to apply the skills I have learned to serve our community," said Ryder, supervisor of environmental regulations for Dominion East Ohio. "If I gain anything from this experience, I hope that it is the reward that comes from knowing that I have in some small way contributed to the betterment of the place that we call our hometown."
Kline appointed Ryder to fill the vacancy Pat Wack created when he decided not to seek re-appointment for his term that expired Jan. 31, 2014. Wack served as Commission chair for 18 years.
Ryder's term will expire Jan. 31, 2018.
"Tallmadge is a special kind of community rich in character and history. It has all the elements of an All-American Midwest town with well-groomed sports fields, tree-lined streets, festivals and fairs, churches for every faith and a very cool drive-up restaurant -- our family's favorite," he said.
"It is touched by both urban and rural influences as it is flanked by the farms and fields of Brimfield to the east and the Akron city lights to the west. Being one of the original settlements of the Western Reserve, there are remnants of Tallmadge's past on almost of street corner," he continued. "My family and I have come to truly love this town, and I feel if I am going to volunteer my time, this is about as good as any place to do it."
Ryder and his wife, Lesli, have been married for 15 years. They have two daughters: Emma, 11, and Ava, 8.
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